South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Approves Permit For Wind Farm Near Highmore

(KCCR) — The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission has approved a construction permit for a wind energy farm in Hyde County. PUC Chairman Gary Hanson says the Triple H Wind project will be located roughly three miles southwest of Highmore…

“This particular project will have 250 megawatts of electricity.  92 turbines will be constructed.  They expect the construction to be completed in 2020.”
Hanson says the siting process for the Triple H Wind project was different than previous wind siting attempts…

“No one contested it.  When we held the meeting out in Highmore the folks turned out to mass support it so, it was…a lot of times; most of the time as a matter of fact we have people who are in opposition to it.”
Hyde County is home to the 27-turbine Hyde County Wind Energy Center along South Dakota Highway 47 south of Highmore. Hanson believes residents of Hyde County have become comfortable with idea of wind energy in their backyards…

“Having a wind farm there years ago as matter fact, its was around 2003 or 4 when that particular project was built, the citizens are accustom to it.  They understand what takes place with wind farms.  As a result, I think that one paved the way greatly for…for this particular project.”
He also credits Triple H for their due diligence in contacting landowners…

“The company did their homework.  They met with the citizens at a time…spent a great deal of time meeting with the participant landowners of course because those are the folks that are going to be paid for having a wind turbine on a property or a different type of easement and then they worked with the non-participants very closely.  There was a few people that presented some concerns and they they work with those folks and as a result, no one appeared to contest it.”
Hanson says the project has some unique customers….

“Interestingly enough, they’ll be selling 150 megawatts to Wal-Mart.  Wal-Mart is…is purchasing 150 of the megawatts and then they have an institutional buyer that wanted to remain confidential who will be receiving 48 megawatts and that’s…that’s rare.    We rarely have an institutional buyer that wants to remain confidential because most people want the whole world to know that they’re taking credit for renewable energy.”
The construction permit was approved with 41 conditions that must be met regarding shadow flicker, sound levels, land restoration and risk to whooping cranes among others. The project will cover over 27-thousand acres and has an estimated cost of 300 million.